Social media and mobile are being used to renew the High Street in a campaign that has blossomed from West Country obscurity to being seen by millions of people.
Since launching in July 2016, #WDYT (what do you think?), a social media campaign bringing the relatively small community of retailers and shoppers of Gloucestershire closer together, is now being seen by over 45 million people.
Throughout the last few months, more than 150 retailers in Cheltenham, Gloucester and Stroud have now signed up to the campaign, and the number of people using the #WDYT hashtag has grown dramatically and has been used 30,000 times. The campaign has now appeared on the timelines and newsfeeds of over 45 million people.
Polly Barnfield OBE, founder of Maybe*, and one of the drivers behind the #WDYT campaign explains: “When we created the #WDYT campaign our main aim was to marry the online and offline shopping experience. It’s recently emerged that Amazon, one of the largest online retailers in the world, has announced the opening of its check-out free convenience stores. When an online giant such as Amazon recognises the potential of the high street, it’s clear we’re on the right track. The high street is not dying; it is merging with digital channels. Our figures have been impressively growing each month and with #WDYT now being seen by over 45 million people it’s clear that we’re making inroads when it comes to merging online and offline.”
Dr Diane Savory, OBE, DL, GFirst LEP Chair and former Chief Operating Officer of SuperGroup, owner of the Superdry label adds: “Our research has shown that a jaw-dropping 74% of high street retailers do not have an active social media presence. It’s extremely important for us to help retailers bridge the digital divide and we’re certain #WDYT will continue to grow and encourage more and more retailers to get involved.”
Barnfield adds: “Absolutely, it’s particularly important that high street stores adapt and work alongside the vastly changing world of online shopping and social media just like Amazon are doing with their Amazon Go store. We believe we have created something that can help the high street accomplish this.”
Libby Reichwald, owner of Carousel, the children’s clothing specialist and retailer signed up to the #WDYT campaign says: “The #WDYT campaign is helping me enormously. I have definitely seen an increase with my footfall from the work I have been doing with the team at Maybe*. I would encourage any retailer to get involved in the campaign, what have you got to lose. We need to get the high street back up and rocking and get people off the internet.”
The #WDYT campaign was created by Maybe*, in partnership with GFirst LEP, Gloucester City Council, Cheltenham Borough Council, Stroud District Council and the Government. See here for more information about the campaign